May marks Electrical Safety Month as a reminder to many of us who need to improve safety practices when working in close proximity to switch panels, wiring and other hazardous devices. The Electrical Safety Foundation International, ESFI, this month is offering a comprehensive collection of new and updated fact sheets, safety tips, templates and tools you can use to promote electrical safety, including the prevention of injuries due to arc flashes.
An arc flash is a sudden release of electrical energy experienced when electrical current leaves the intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another. According to the ESFI, “While great advances are being made to improve equipment design and thereby reduce the number of arc flash incidences, there is still much to be done. Each year, 2,000 workers are admitted to burn centers for treatment of severe arc flash burns.”
At PRSM2013 National Conference, Chris Kaiser, Business Development Manager for WESCO Distribution, educated attendees on the origins of arc flashes, which can be spontaneous and can result from dust, dropping tools, accidental contact, condensation, material failure, corrosion or faulty installation.
One of the most helpful things store employees can do to prevent arc flash is to report all incidents of exposed wiring, damaged outlets, or frayed power cords. Replacing these hazards will help to eliminate dangerous situations where arc flash can occur.
Kaiser reminds everyone, “Electrical safety awareness involves more than just a single training session or the presence of personal protective equipment in a facility. Avoiding the dangers associated with arc flash and shock hazards require conscious decisions and commitments to completing work safely. Arc flash analyses and yearly training sessions are just some of the first steps in establishing a culture committed to electrical safety.”